By Carly Benson
The games Dec. 3-4 marked the mid point of the season for the Dinos men’s hockey club. Coming off two heartbreaking losses to the University of Alberta, the Dinos were determined to make the most of this weekend’s opportunity against the worst team in the Canada West division–the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
Friday night, the Dinos cruised to a 5-2 victory after Alex Lalonde opened the scoring only 11 seconds into the match. By the end of the first period, Jordan Walker had given Calgary a 2-1 lead and they never looked back. Despite only firing four shots on goal in the third period, both Craig Strain and Colin McRae made the most of their opportunities to solidify the victory.
Though Calgary was out shot 29-26 in the game, solid goaltending from Donald Choukalos and lots of secondary scoring made for a winning formula. This time, players who have not contributed as much got their chance in the spotlight.
“We have relied heavily on a few guys for offence,” Lonny Tetley–who collected two assists on the night–admitted about the past few games.
The sudden scoring burst gave the Dinos lots of confidence heading into the rematch on Saturday evening. They picked up exactly where they had left off, with Tetley giving Calgary an early lead a mere 23 seconds after the puck dropped. A power play goal by Wade Davis around the mid point of the period gave Calgary a 2-0 lead, but the T-Birds cut that in half on their own powerplay five minutes later.
From then on, there was nothing that could stop the Dinos’ offence. Adam Loncan, Wesley Reid, Ryan Annesley, Jordan Walker and Craig Strain all lit the lamp as the Dinos annihilated the T-Birds with their biggest offensive output of the season.
At the end of the night, the final score stood at 9-1, with goaltender Scott Talbot stopping 33 of 34 shots directed his way.
“As a team we’ve been building, and it really showed this weekend,” McRae said.
“We really found ways,” added captain Bracken Kearns. “The whole team just came together.”
For Tetley, slaughtering the T-Birds simply showed the team’s commitment to working hard every night.
“Teams have a tendency to play down to the level of their opponent before Christmas,” he said.
But the Dinos stuck to their game plan and came away with a huge victory. With 14 of 28 games under their belts, the Dinos reflected on their performance for the first half of the season.
“On paper it doesn’t look as great, but we are a vastly improved team from last year. The stats are not reflective of where we are,” Tetley said in defense of the Dinos’ mediocre 6-6-2 record.
“Our record doesn’t show how well we’ve played,” Kearns wholeheartedly agreed. “Big blow-outs don’t show up on paper.”
“We have made some progress in the right direction,” Assistant Coach Chris Robinson echoed . “We are feeling extremely confident.”
That confidence will be essential considering the Dinos’ first game back will be a rematch against the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
So what’s the agenda for the rest of the season? Robinson said that the plan was simple.
“Maintain our work ethic and keep improving. We need to keep building and building until we peak in the playoffs.”